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My unsolicited advice to beginning bloggers

Hi there, and thanks for stopping by to scan my unsolicited advice for beginning bloggers post! Now, I am well aware that this post is a bit of a risk. I am not a professional blogger, and I absolutely do not claim to have a plethora of knowledge on the subject. I definitely don’t want to come across as saying ‘blog like me’. The reason I felt compelled to write this post (and am a bit nervous as to how this will be perceived) is that, well, honestly, I’m big on  etiquette. As in – saying ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, ‘May I’ and telling someone when they have something in their teeth. I’ve spent a lot of time cringing at posts with something in their teeth. Although I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who cringe at some of my posts with the same vigor.

As a blogger – that seems to have been around for awhile (comparatively speaking, as this article from 29 August, 2016 states that the current average lifespan of a blog is only 100 days…That is dismal.) This article has a few theories on why blogs don’t seem to last so long anymore. Anywho, I digress….

A bit about me: When I began blogging, I didn’t really know if anyone would even be interested in what I have to say. After all, it’s a mishmash of all things ‘my life’. Travel, thoughts, home reno, shopping, spa days, book & product reviews, and just life in general. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for me to make some golden friendships here and honestly, without their help, support & guidance, I think I would have easily foundered by now.  I don’t usually write posts about blogging, because well, I am no expert. Just like most everyone else, I have had to learn by trial and error, ask for tons of help, read better blogging posts until my head hurt, and just see what happens over time.  Aside from my own mistakes, I have seen several ‘goods’ and ‘bads’ that seem to be a recurrent issue in many of the blogs that I peruse. So, as your sister in the blogosphere, I feel obligated to share my thoughts on things that might help you out a bit. Agree or don’t, its completely up to you. I’m not telling you what you should do with your blog. It’s yours, keep it yours.  I know that I scoured thousands of articles on this topic when I was starting out – and continue to today. So here’s a few lessons I’ve learned and would just like to pass on:

Please DO, I think it will help:

  • Be yourself! Everyone is different and every blogger has their style & preferences. If you do what everyone else does because you think that’s the way things should go, then all blogs would be the same and … that’s no fun.
  • Write what you are passionate about!  People can see your passion and expertise in your posts.
  • Proofread your posts!  If you can’t spend the time to review your writing before hitting the publish button, why should people spend the time out of their lives reading it?
  • Publish regularly. It doesn’t have to be daily, or even weekly. But you should maintain some sort of schedule. Personally, I now post at least three times weekly. More often if I have more to say. When I began blogging, I posted once weekly. That was enough to slowly build my blog and have the time to learn about what I was doing. Your followers will appreciate your consistency. (It is one of my blogging pet peeves when a blog I follow posts daily, or multiple times per day, and then drops off the planet without any reason given for two months, returns with an apology & 5 posts on the same day. It IS however completely understandable & acceptable if life gets in the way. We all have things to do. Just let people know and it seems to go over better if your posting schedule isn’t totally erratic.). Slow and Steady wins the race.
  • Set reasonable, yet challenging goals for yourself. For example, my goal was to reach 1,000 WP subscribers in my first year. Not easy, but I knew if I could do it, it was sign that I could continue blogging. It took almost a year to achieve that goal, but once I did – it felt like nothing could stop me. Thanks everybody for THAT! 🙂 🙂 
  • Make sure your Gravitar profile is on-key! Many people will find you through this, so make sure its updated and well kept!
  • Sync all your social media accounts. I can’t tell you what a time-saver it is to have my posts updated on all accounts the moment they are published.
  • Make your posts worthy of a life/time investment! There is spending time (wasting time) and there is investing time. The point being, that people are spending time in their lives that is gone – never to return- once it’s spent, reading our blogs. Do we want this to be a waste of their time in life? OF COURSE NOT! This is where the term time investment comes into play. The difference? An investment implies ROI – or return on investment.  If someone invests their time reading your article, and comes out of it enriched with something – be it motivation, knowledge, awareness, a smile, an idea or increase in blog traffic – then they have received a solid return on their investment. Well done!
  • Enroll in everything! Learning is the best way. WordPress Blogging University offers free online courses on a regular basis: Blogging 101, blogging 201, commenting bootcamp, branding & marketing strategies, photography, et al. Follow the link above for the sign-up page. Personally, I never stop learning. I’ve found that the more I learn about blogging, the more I realize I don’t have a clue and need to learn more.
  • NETWORK! There are constantly sites hosting meet and greets, networking parties, drop your link posts, et al. Do it! This is a great time investment for you! Get to know other bloggers, leave your link, repost the parties and socialize, socialize, socialize! This is hands-down the best way to get your site out there. Personally, I have followed hundreds of new sites I found on these parties that I never would have known existed otherwise.
  • Be considerate of your fellow bloggers. New, old and indifferent – we are ALL here to accomplish something. A large percentage of your subscribers are fellow bloggers. They are investing in you, you should invest in them. Take the time to check out their sites. Like or comment if you find a post you like.
  • Sharing is caring. If you stumble across a blog post that is wonderful and you think your followers would love to read it, share! However, please always ask in the comments section before you reblog or wp it. Some bloggers love to be shared, some don’t. So make sure first. Personally, I love it when someone deems my work worthy of a good share 😉 Also, when you share the post, make sure to thank the original blogger in the additional area for an introductory comment. Respect for others is key!

Please DON’T:

  • Sweat SEO. The search engines will pick up your articles at some point. I’m still pleasantly surprised when I see search engine views on my stats page.
  • Post more than twice daily  (Unless you are an incredibly popular site (in excess of several thousand followers) news site or a massive site which has multiple bloggers publishing articles – then it’s a whole new ballgame and post away!) The reason for this is that it appears (to me) as though you are only inundating the web with links, photos or little snippets in order to attract more traffic to your site. Trust me, its obvious. Quantity does not mean Quality. Not to mention it gunks up people’s email inboxes. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. There are at least 5 blogs that I follow which post good quality posts, multiple times a day. But I can tell you as someone who spends a lot of time reading blogs, that this is the exception more than the rule.
  • Post the link to your site in the comment section of other blogs, unless it has been specifically requested. (My other major blogging pet peeve) It’s spammy, and many bloggers, including myself, will just delete it. Other people’s blogs are not your free marketing arena. People can find their way to your site via your profile name and gravitar profile which is displayed with your comments. Plus, there is always a networking party to be found where you are encouraged to drop your link. But as for comment spamming: Seriously, please, don’t do it. Send an email if you truly want to thank people for following. Comments are great! Please just don’t use them to direct traffic to your own site.
  • Put all your stock in numbers. True, stats are important. And the difference between 200 followers and 2,000 is huge. However, its the quality of traffic that really matters. Go with the 10% rule (personally, I think more like %6 is more realistic). Meaning: Only an average of 10% of your subscribers will actually see or like your post. Interaction is huge! If you have a higher ratio of views, likes and comments – then you have high quality traffic. A person with 200 followers can get 70 likes on a great article and a person will 2,000 followers can get 30. This is what I mean.
  • Let your ambition turn you into a naive nut. This is the internet. There are predators out there and we are prime prey. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If a company you’ve never heard of contacts you, do some research before replying. And NEVER-EVER pay to be an ambassador or freely hand out your personal information for anything! Companies will contact you in time, don’t you worry. Looking for fresh talent is what people do for a full-time job.
  • Play the follow/unfollow game. This is not instagram. You can’t expect likes & follows in return, although many people respect others enough to do so. But also because professional and business bloggers, as well as those who have popular blogs are paying a small fortune for self hosting domains with all the bells and whistles – which include google analytics. Many watch the numbers very closely, as it tells what we are doing wrong: navigation and the like. So, WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Nobody likes a cheater, so please stop doing it. Be legit, or be gone. (Another pet-peeve: on all platforms, the people who do this are kind of A-holes, in my personal opinion. I always make sure that I do NOT follow or like any of those who play this follow/unfollow game…I don’t care how great your content is.)
  • Invest too much money until you know where you’re going with this. I realize that this is difficult at times. We all need hosting, new programs, cameras, products and the like. Fake it, till you make it…right? BUT what happens if you spend yourself into oblivion and then decide 4 months later that blogging isn’t for you? Remember your ROI. You are left with a pile of investment and no return.
  • Drink and blog. Seriously. Yes, you will regret that rant in the morning. We all know you were wasted because it looks like you were typing with your face. Sleep it off and rant in the morning.

Please Remember:

  • Quantity is not Quality. Quality is better.
  • Remember who your friends are, they are golden.
  • Gain a thirst for knowledge
  • Sharing is caring!
  • ROI on your followers time investment.
  • It’s not all about numbers
  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Be legit, or be gone
  • Respect for others is key!
  • Enjoy yourself!

Thanks for reading, everyone! If you have any more advice you would like to add, please leave it in the comments section so we can all see!

Feel free to share this post if you would like 🙂

– Mliae

182 Comments »

  1. A comprehensive and well-researched post. I hope bloggers will benefit from this and adopt the right attitude towards blogging and not treat blogging as other social-media game of, ‘like and move on’ (with or without reading a post) or ‘I like yours and you like mine’ attitude. Thank you for sharing this post.

  2. Reblogged this on The Blogging Meetup and commented:

    This is an article which I hope will be of benefit to newer bloggers. What do you think, is there any advice you would like to add?
    Thank you for reading, and feel free to share 🙂

  3. Hi there, some fantastic advice for new bloggers there my friend, especially the being passionate about your blog and networking with other bloggers, these are extremely important for a successful site. 100 day lifespan? wow, didn’t realise it was that low, though I still find it hard to believe that my own blog is almost 3 years old now… time flies. Always enjoy your posts, keep up the great work. 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your very kind words! I know, right? 100 days is crazy… 1001 Congratulations on 3 years blogging! Time does fly, doesn’t it? 🙂

  4. Wow! What a wonderful article Mliae! It was prolific, insightful and practical! I loved the points you mentioned in “Please Remember” section, Simple but critical ‘take away’ advices !”If it’s too good to be true, it probably is” 🙂
    Congratulations for writing such a nice composition! 🙂

  5. Interesting reading! The world of bloggers are changing all the time. At one point many thought that FB, Twitter and Instagram meant the death of blogging but now it seems to be growing fast

  6. One should not confuse this platform with other social media platforms.
    Many of us are here to have an audience who is actually interested in reading our write-ups, and provides genuine feedback. Only then the count of those followers matter.
    This is a platform to guide, appreciate and improve each other.
    Following, going through the top-most post, and never looking back at that blog, is as good as not following it.
    Each and every point of yours has hit the exact nail. 🙂

    • Thank you so much! It is really nice to know there are folks like you who feel the same way. It is a bit off. I mean, why follow a blog – if you don’t follow it?

      • Exactly.☺
        Wordpress is not like facebook or Instagram or other social platforms.
        Once I get a follower, I expect him/her to go through what I write, rather than simply increasing my follower’s count. So I do the same for the ones I follow. Though sometimes I miss their posts but that never has been intentional!

  7. I’ve never heard of the 100-day death-knell for most blogs…interesting statistic. Where does that number come from, out of curiosity? I’m not doubting it, seeing as how a number of blogs I used to follow seem to have vanished after 2 – 3 months, even though they had some good content.

    I’ve been blogging for six years – I definitely didn’t give up after 100 days, even with few ‘Likes’ and zero followers, LOL!

    You targeted, and achieved, 1K subscribers in your first year…impressive, especially when you state this:

    (Don’t) Put all your stock in numbers. True, stats are important. And the difference between 200 followers and 2,000 is huge. However, its the quality of traffic that really matters. Go with the 10% rule (personally, I think more like %6 is more realistic). Meaning: Only an average of 10% of your subscribers will actually see or like your post. Interaction is huge! If you have a higher ratio of views, likes and comments – then you have high quality traffic. A person with 200 followers can get 70 likes on a great article and a person will 2,000 followers can get 30. This is what I mean.

    I read this post in an attempt to see what “beginning” bloggers do that I haven’t done…but, I see nothing much different about what they do and what I do. I do my best to put out ‘quality’ content, so I suppose patience is always in order.

    Fascinating post.
    😎

    • Hi there, and thank you for your comment. I had heard here there and everywhere that approx 3-6 months was the average lifespan of blogs. Some much longer, some much shorter. However, the 2 articles that I cited go into more detail about it and cite their own sources. I realized a few weeks ago that my links just kind of blend in with the grey text, so I decided today that I will start highlighting them in hot pink (Of course, I love it) so as not to be so easily skipped over.
      You are correct about my statement and my goals. I can see where you are coming from on this. What I mean is, those who are glued to their stats page and write according to SEO, or just post, post, post constantly – nothing but links really – because of the rumor that the more you post, the more followers you obtain…as opposed to blogging about one’s life or interests, with their own words, thoughts, opinions. You know what I mean.
      I checked out your site, it’s nice. Great photography and humor 🙂 Gorgeous Caddy!

      • Thank you for looking at my blog – and, the car isn’t a Caddy…it’s a 1958 Pontiac Bonneville! Caddies are nice too, though. I’m partial to the 1969 Cadillac Coupe deVille – but muscle-cars are the best, IMHO.
        Have a great weekend!
        😎

      • Oop…that was a faux-pas, wasn’t it? I love classic cars, but as I’ve already displayed my lack of knowledge on the subject, I guess you can tell I’m more of a ‘Oh! That’s pretty!’ kind of chic. 😉
        Enjoy your weekend!

      • LOL – no worries! Nothing wrong with saying, “Hey – that’s a pretty car!” The classic ones have style that most modern ones don’t…so, they certainly are pretty!
        You have a great weekend, too!

  8. Fantastic post! I gained a lot from reading this. I have been fretting about my own blog stats for sometime and your post puts my fears at ease. Thank you 🙂 Taking your own advice, may I please share this on my blog? I know some fellow rookie-bloggers who could learn a lot from this post, just as I have. Thanks again 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your very kind words! I’m so glad you were able to take something away from this post 🙂 Please do share, I love shares 😃

    • Hi there! Thanks so much for taking the time to read it 🙂 your kind words mean a lot to me. Trying to help out is why I wrote this post 😉

  9. I agree with almost all your tips in this article, with the exception of one: Don’t insert the link to my website when I leave my comment because it’s spam. Many bloggers don’t offer an email address and you can’t contact them, except through leaving comments! And THAT is my pet peeve with many bloggers. They gripe about being spammed but don’t offer any options to contact them other than leaving comments. I admit that when I leave comments, I always leave a link to my site. I guess this means I’m busted according to this blogger. So I won’t provide the link to my site here out of respect for this blogger.

    • Thank you for honest and kind comment 🙂 The reason its a bit weird for me, is that, for instance, I clicked on your user name and it took me directly to your site. So in my opinion, this is all you need already there, to direct traffic. Leaving a link is a bit like a big red blinking sign. (Although some posts encourage bloggers to leave their links – i.e.; networking parties & my recent reblog post)
      Busted! Heheh…just kidding. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, really 🙂

  10. Thank you Mliae I’m very new to blogging and not really technically minded so I’ve probably made many mistakes accidentally attempting to find out what was what… terminology was completely foreign. I appreciate the tips on etiquette.

    • Sure thing! Thank you for coming by to read my post 🙂 You are not alone in this boat, most of us are learning by doing. Keep up the good work!

  11. Reblogged this on Happy Little Housewife and commented:
    This is fantastic advice for new bloggers. I’m still only new and learning, learning, learning. But I’ve found this process very therapeutic and beneficial as I move towards a more mindful, simply life. But I will say this, my aim of my blog is to be 100% myself – after all – everyone else is already taken 😉

  12. I thought I left a comment here. As I said in that comment, I have been blogging for years. Thank you for all the tips! How long have you been doing this obviously popular blog? Mine aren’t popular like yours, but my topics are different. I would agree about never including links with your comment (which I tend to do). BUT many bloggers do not provide any options to contact them personally! No email. No Contact Me form. One HUGE suggestion for any blogger is to provide a Contact Me form to reduce the temptation to add links in comments.

    • That is a great suggestion! I agree, it would be cool to be able to contact people easier.
      As for me, I’ve been blogging for 13 months. I hope to continue for years to come 🙂

  13. Thank you for this! I am so guilty of not blogging regularly. I thought downloading the app on my phone would help but no, it made my structure and grammar look horrible. I am trying to get back into the swing of blogging! I love writing and having an outlet to share what I’m passionate about without waiting for someone to “like” it.

    Thanks for the advice! Much appreciated from this “newbie.”

    -Liz-

  14. Thank you for this post. I am still fairly new to blogging so I am still getting the hang of posting enough and not too much or too little. I have had to get the momentum flowing again since I took a holiday break at the beginning of the year and its been hard work to regain the momentum again.
    I am trying to be disciplined with posting but its hard when I work full time and have other responsibilities.
    I think the goal of posting once a week is a good one to stick to.
    Thanks so much!

    • Hi there 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to read the post! I know it’s difficult to get in the hang of a schedule, but it’s totally worth the effort. Your followers will thank you 😉

  15. Wow! Very informative! ☺ Thank you for the advice!!! I’m new to blogging and I find it helpful in my journey.. 😀😊 Haven’t posted for awhile now and must follow that once a week post diligently.. 😁😁😁

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